"It’s something that the whole squad has bought into and they’re really behind it as well"
Conor Chaplin says that the work of the Club's Community Trust is important in bringing the whole town together as one.
This weekend's fixture against Portsmouth is the Club's Community Day, which will further highlight the invaluable work of the Trust within the local community, both across Ipswich and Suffolk.
Supporters are also being encouraged to bring a pound to the ground to raise vital funds towards the costs of providing their vital support and programmes in the local area.
"It brings togetherness and that family feel," said Conor. "I do think it’s important in terms of a whole town coming together. It’s not just the players, everyone needs to be together and the fans have to be on the ride with us. I can’t talk about previous years at the Club, but I think there has been really good engagement between fans and players this season, in terms of media and lads going out and seeing clubs, schools and organisations. The Trust does some brilliant and really important work, and I am proud to play a small part in that.
"There is a real togetherness and I think that links back to those that are involved in groups or courses with the Community Trust, because it creates a sense of belonging. I did quite a lot of community work at Barnsley and Pompey and I think it’s so important. When the team is doing well on the pitch it helps, but it also helps when the team is not doing so well."
Despite various challenges caused by Covid-19, Conor's colleagues in the first-team have also bought in to the importance of giving back to the local community.
Recently, George Edmundson visited an adult disability training session and a Bluey's Ballers programme, both of which were taking place at Portman Road.
"I was talking to Fridge [George] the other day about when he went to one of the disability sessions and he absolutely loved it," Conor continued. "It’s so rewarding to see their faces when you turn up and how much it means to them. It’s really grounding for us and it’s so nice to see that side of it.
"It’s amazing to know that you can make a difference and have an impact on someone or a group of people. Once you see that, why wouldn’t you want to do more of it or get involved in it? It’s something that the whole squad has bought into and they’re really behind it as well."
In October, Conor and women's player Natasha Thomas were both named trustees of the Club's Community Trust.
The duo attend board of trustees meetings and are also tasked with stressing the importance of the local community to their respective colleagues in the men's and women's first-teams.
Town's 25-year-old forward added: "I went to my first board meeting the other day and it was brilliant to have that insight into what the Club and the Community Trust are doing hand in hand. We had a great conversation about things that are being planned, and how the Club needs to be involved.
"It’s exciting from a player’s point of view, and that has helped me understand more about why the fans can be excited about things the Club has planned. It’s a complete mix of people but that’s great because everyone offers a unique opinion. It’s really nice to sit around a table with them and share my opinion as well. It’s important to have that drive from within the dressing room, because there are things we can offer.
"The Trust is great and there’s only scope for it to get even better which is exciting for everyone involved, as well as those in the local area and people associated with the Football Club. Hopefully we can raise some money on Saturday as well, with supporters bringing a pound to the ground."